After most of three decades in Howell Public Schools from his days as a student, Howell High School athletic director Dan Hutcheson is taking on a new challenge.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association announced Thursday that Hutcheson, 45, will join the organization as an associate director in charge of wrestling, tennis and a sport to be named.
He will begin his new job in August.
“I’m real excited about the opportunity,” said Hutcheson, who is finishing his ninth year as athletic director. “The nice thing is I’ll still work with Howell, but in a different capacity. I told my coaches I feel confident and assured that there’s a good foundation here, with the focus on the right things: Academics, athletics and being a good citizen.”
Hutcheson has been at Howell for most of the last 20 years, as a teacher, coach and administrator.
In his new post, he replaces Mark Uyl, who will take on other duties at the MHSAA.
“The perfect person to take over (for Uyl) is Dan Hutcheson,” said Hartland wrestling coach Todd Cheney, a friend since their high school days and former rival coach. “Dan’s been a teacher, an AD, an assistant principal. He’s done everything you need to do to work in his job.”
“I think he’s set the bar high,” Howell football coach Aaron Metz said. “He’s tried to bring the athletic department together and set goals for all the programs. He set a GPA goal of 3.5 for the program. They said it’s not possible, but we’re at 3.38, which is pretty darn close. I think he’s really made a push to have true student-athletes at Howell.”
Hutcheson grew up in Howell, then moved to Holt for his senior season as a high school wrestler after a millage failed in Howell.
He went to college at Ferris State, where he was a two-time all-American, and coached the Howell wrestling team from 1997-2004.
He took over for Doug Paige a decade ago, and his work ethic and attention to detail are well-known to those close to the program.
He’ll take that to the MHSAA.
“I’ll be brushing up on the rule books and guidelines,” he said of his summer reading. “I don’t want to walk in on Day One and not be prepared. It’s not my M.O.”
“Professionalism is the name of his game,” Metz said. “He’ll come in on a Sunday and do painting to make things look better. He wants things to look right.”
“I couldn’t be more happy for him,” Brighton athletic director John Thompson said. “He’ll do a great job (at the MHSAA). He will serve the students of Michigan every bit as well as the students of the Howell Public Schools.”
And, he said, a little more time with his own youngsters.
“I hope so,” he said. “I hope that’s part of the package, maybe more opportunities to be with my family. I’m not afraid of hard work, but that would be a nice little bonus.”
Asked to describe his time at Howell, Hutcheson said he wouldn’t dwell on his own accomplishments, but those of the students he’s worked with over the years.
“I think about what the kids did and accomplished,” he said, and seeing those kids grow up to be successful people. Past athletes who are now attorneys and teachers and come back and tell me how great things are going. That’s the stuff I’ll look back on. Teachers, the staff and the community in general. I couldn’t boil it down to one thing, but if I had to use a word, it would be: Relationships.”